Since January has been designated National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we would like to spread the word about the importance of recognizing the threat of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is the term for a group of progressive ocular diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, which may lead to blindness. When uncontrolled, glaucoma often first shows up as peripheral vision loss until it eventually results in a complete loss of vision. It is considered to be the primary reason for avoidable blindness and statistics show that over 60 million people worldwide are afflicted with the disease.
A significant cause of glaucoma is thought to be increased pressure in the eye called intraocular pressure. The elevation in pressure causes damage to the optic nerve which transmits messages from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. In instances where this system doesn't work as needed, eyesight is affected. Unfortunately, damage to the optic nerve can't be reversed.
Glaucoma is particularly dangerous because unlike other causes of vision loss, it is an asymptomatic condition until vision is already lost.
It is due to this that glaucoma has acquired the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." This may leave you asking: how does one diagnose an illness which lacks any obvious symptoms?
Early diagnosis of the disease is crucial to effective management. Although everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific groups have a higher risk than others. Serious risk factors for glaucoma may include anyone over 45, those with a family history of glaucoma, individuals with diabetes, or known eye problems such as high intraocular pressure.
There are many different kinds of glaucoma such as open or close angle glaucomas. As a general rule, both eyes are affected, although the disease has been known to advance more quickly in one eye than in the other.
You can learn more about glaucoma if you speak to an optometrist. There are a series of diagnostic eye tests used to measure the beginnings of glaucoma. Particularly if you are 45 or older or have one of the other risk factors named above, it's important to schedule a routine eye examination on a yearly basis.
The truth is that most kinds of glaucoma cannot be prevented. Nevertheless the damage to the optic nerve and deterioration of vision can be halted by early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Don't delay! Contact Dr. Gedamu and Associates now, for an annual screening for glaucoma.